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The Week in Review: 01.10.2020

January 10, 2020


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

I’m a big fan of Ruta Sepetys and her writing because she brings history alive for me.  I was excited to pick up her latest, THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE, and she did not disappoint.

Eighteen year old American Daniel is in Madrid with his parents – his father is from Texas and his mother is from Spain.  Daniel befriends some young Spaniards and, through them and his photography, learns what it’s like to live under Franco’s dictatorship, discovering a horrible secret.

I have to admit I knew little about this period of history in Spain and was shocked by the scandal Daniel uncovered.  I couldn’t believe it was true but have researched it and I was sad to learn it was.  (I won’t reveal the scandal because I don’t want to spoil things for other readers.)  As usual, Sepetys’ writing is top notch – I loved the way she told this story through the eyes of a young American.  There are historical quotes spread throughout the book.  The audio version is narrated by Maite Jáuregui and Richard Ferrone.  Jáuregui did the bulk of the narration while Ferrone reads the historical quotes.  I loved the way the production was presented but was bothered when Jáuregui mispronounced some fairly common words like dynasty, identification, and cemetery – as a matter of fact, it took me a little while to figure out a few of the words.  This YA book is a must read for anyone who loves history and I would still recommend the audio version.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


DEAR JUSTICE LEAGUE by Michael Northrop is a fun graphic novel for middle grade readers.  Members of the Justice League answer letters they receive from fans, showing they’re no more perfect than anyone else.  A young fan who has messed up big time wants to know if Superman is super all of the time.  Another wants to know if Aquaman smells like fish.  Green Lantern is asked if he gets tired of wearing black and green all the time.  You get the idea.  The answers are clever and humorous and also serious when they need to be.  Gustavo Duarte’s full color illustrations are fabulous and will help keep reluctant readers engaged.  I enjoyed this book and chuckled a time or two and think it will hold broad appeal for the middle grade set.  (Review copy provided by DC Comics.)


I’ve heard a lot about Patti Smith‘s writing so I was excited to pick up YEAR OF THE MONKEY.  It’s a memoir of 2016, the year Smith turned 70 – a year she spent wandering along the west coast with a trip to Kentucky thrown in.  I found it to be light on experiences and more focused on her meandering thoughts and musings which I didn’t find particularly profound.  I listened to the audio version which is narrated by Smith and I thought her delivery was monotone and unremarkable.  This book was a miss for me but I do wonder if I would have enjoyed the book more in print because it’s gotten a lot of great reviews.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Not much of anything.

Off the blog

  • I got my second (and final) shingles vaccine this week.  I’m glad to have that behind me and hope it’s as effective as they claim it is.

  • I started the puzzle Vance gave me for my birthday in November.
  • I had a follow-up visit on my eye.  Even though it’s healing well, the doctor has decided to keep me on the steroid eye drops in addition to the anti-viral medication.  I sure hope it works.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged just over 16,150 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

26 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2020 8:09 am

    I am looking forward to when thef Ruta Sepetys book comes out!

  2. January 10, 2020 9:02 am

    I hope your eyes heal at last!

    I have been noticing books by Sepetys, but have never read one. I like the sound of this one.

    I’m also intrigued by A Woman First: First Woman.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  3. January 10, 2020 9:24 am

    I’m always impressed by your ‘steps’ average each week. Way to go about consistency! Hope your eye continues to improve.

  4. Lloyd Russell permalink
    January 10, 2020 9:49 am

    I liked Fountains too, but not quite as much as Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray. I agree, though, that I knew nothing about the Franco regime.

    Lloyd (408) 348-4849

    On Fri, Jan 10, 2020 at 1:02 AM Bermudaonion’s Weblog wrote:

    > BermudaOnion posted: ” Between the Covers Finished last week: I’m a big > fan of Ruta Sepetys and her writing because she brings history alive for > me. I was excited to pick up her latest, THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE, and she > did not disappoint. Eighteen year old American D” >

  5. January 10, 2020 9:49 am

    Hope your eye continues to heal.

    Have fun with your puzzle.

  6. January 10, 2020 12:23 pm

    Hope those drops continue to help your eye heal.
    That puzzle looks great!
    I love Patti Smith’s writing. I’m a huge fan of her books – they are simplistic in style, but so thought-provoking. I love M Train – by far my favorite. I just got a friend of mine to finally read her books and she enjoyed it. I will admit that this latest one is not her best work, but I still found it an interesting read.

  7. January 10, 2020 12:27 pm

    I am feeling a little anxious this morning. The dark cloud at work, waiting for the announcement on who our interim VP will be is causing me a little stress. I’m also trying to get my body used to sitting in this chair all day. My back and neck are not liking it.

    This weekend, my daughter has her first in-car driving lesson. Eeek.

  8. January 10, 2020 2:58 pm

    Fountains of Silence sounds good! I hope your eyes continue to heal and are back to normal soon. How frustrating and probably scary.
    We are sick at my house. My husband has pneumonia and I have a virus that’s going around our area. We’re supposed to get snow this weekend so I’m looking forward to lots of reading on the couch.

  9. January 10, 2020 3:31 pm

    Kathy, thanks for your honest reviews (I’d like to read or listen to an earlier memoir by Patti Smith); the graphic novel sounds wonderful! I’m glad that your eye is doing better, and hope that it continues to heal. Have a terrific weekend! 🙂

  10. January 10, 2020 3:37 pm

    Sorry Smith’s book was a miss for you! I want to listen to the Reid book. I hope your eye heals quickly.

  11. January 10, 2020 6:25 pm

    Yeah that shingles vaccine can sure make your arm sore for like 3 days. I was glad to have it over with recently too. You definitely have me wondering about the secret in the Sepety’s novel. Enjoy your weekend.

  12. January 10, 2020 7:14 pm

    Sounds like you had a good reading week! I recently had my shingles vaccines, too, and sure hope it’s effective. My SIL and best friend both got shingles in their late 50s and it was very painful. The vaccine should probably be given to people when they turn 50 or 55…

  13. January 11, 2020 2:45 am

    I need the new Sepetys, I guess it will make me cry

  14. January 11, 2020 9:02 am

    I have never been especially interested in memoirs of celebrities. Just because a person is beautiful or a good speaker doesn’t mean the person can write. When I read a book, the most important thing to me is good writing. I have found myself on the thin side of liking every single celebrity memoir I’ve ever read, so I’ve begun to pass on them all, even those that get rave reviews from others, such as Michelle Obama’s Becoming.

    I got my second shingles shot this week, too. Sore arm for three or four days, and lots of overall achiness.

    I started Fountains and ended up giving it away. I’m glad to see you enjoyed it so much. I have loved Sepetys in the past, but I wasn’t feeling it. Oh well. Maybe my friend will loan it to me after she finishes.

    Have a great week, Kathy.

  15. January 11, 2020 9:09 am

    It often makes a difference for me whether I listen or read. Some authors really shouldn’t read their own books.

  16. Helen Murdoch permalink
    January 11, 2020 12:48 pm

    I hope your eye begins to heal, things like that are scary. And I am so glad you liked Fountains of Silence! I thought it was well done and really interesting; I did not see the scandal coming at all!

  17. Literary Feline permalink
    January 11, 2020 6:14 pm

    I have been wanting to try something by Ruta Sepetys for years now. I am glad you enjoyed her latest! It does sound good, and I’m dying to know what that scandal was . . . I hope the continued medicine does help with your eye. I hope you have a great week, Kathy.

  18. January 12, 2020 8:41 am

    I turned 50 last year and I think I’m supposed to get a shingles vaccine too, but haven’t yet. I guess I now have another resolution. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  19. January 12, 2020 9:53 am

    My husband got shingles which resulted in blistering on the right side of his head and he nearly lost the sight in his eye. It was very painful, so I think the vaccination is a sensible idea.
    I’m glad your eye is healing.

    Wishing you a great reading week

  20. Becki Bayley permalink
    January 12, 2020 5:49 pm

    I usually enjoy historical fiction. I’ll have to check out The Fountains of Silence. Thanks for posting 🙂

  21. Sarah Sammis permalink
    January 12, 2020 11:42 pm

    Your puzzle looks fun. Hurray for the vaccination. My grandmother was plagued by shingles. My weekly update

  22. January 13, 2020 4:47 am

    I really need to read Ruta Sepetys one of these days!

  23. January 13, 2020 7:01 am

    I like Patti Smith, but I do find her thoughts often meander. Maybe that is part of her charm. I need to read that Sepetys book.

  24. January 13, 2020 9:35 pm

    Oh, I’d like to read Dear Justice League, though I’m probably going to imagine their life-size Hollywood actors in their suits, answering the questions. Looking forward to your review of Such a Fun Age!

  25. Diane permalink
    January 14, 2020 10:20 am

    Hoping your eye continues to improve Kathy. That looks like another challening puzzle – good luck.

  26. January 15, 2020 10:11 pm

    I’ve had shingles twice (once when I was 30 and more recently when I was 57), so I’m anxious to get those shots!

    That puzzle looks like great fun!

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